Some of the earlier Windows users experienced difficulty rendering their hardware devices, such as audio. Installing device drivers is a simple fix to this issue.
With over 14 million downloads worldwide, this looks like a reliable fix to the issues that early Windows users faced. On the website that you can access to download, it seems like most users were satisfied with this software. Over two-thirds of their reviews are either four stars or five stars, which is exceptional given all the bugs and errors in the earlier Windows operating systems. It's been patched to its full capacity, so it seems relatively safe to use without any major issues.
Not to mention that you do not have to pay a penny for the software that comes with the patched device drivers, as well as the installer tool that will guide you as you set it up. Within the software is cutting edge (for the time period) converter technology that allows the machine to achieve a signal-to-noise ratio above 90dB.
Extensions on the AC'97 Audio Codec allow the user to view variable sampling rates and built-in 3D effects. The Realtek Codec also allows more than 6 simultaneous audio streams and is compatible with some modern systems. Multiple sources cite that this software is compatible with Windows 1998-2004, it may work in later versions, but check to see on the Realtek site if the operating system in question will support the Realtek AC'97 Driver software. You will also need to be sure that your machine's sound chip is compatible with the Realtek software.
Compatible chips include: ALC100, ALC101, ALC200, ALC201, ALC201A, ALC202, ALC202A, ALC650, Realtek ALC655, ALC658, Realtek ALC850. All this with a relatively small download size of 18MB which won't take up much space on your hard drive, this software is worth downloading if you are an early Windows user.
Free to use for Windows '98 users